It’s been 11 months, 6 days and 4 hours (give or take a few minutes), since I bought a new handbag. Technically it’s been a lot longer than eleven months, since I bought new.
My last handbag purchase was a vintage Hermes Kelly bag from the 1990’s – so not exactly new. A black box “retourner” with gold bijouterie- Tracking it down was an emotionally exhausting experience, not to mention a financially ruinous one. You should have seen what it did to my fashion budget. It was a massacre!
Anyway, at the time I promised myself – no more bags for a year- and I am a (wo)man of my word.
A moment of peace, to take in a proper inventory, of what I have, what I actually use … and what should go to find new wardrobes and new fashion adventures.
After a little handbag clear out – another deeply traumatic experience, but it has to be done. We have limited wardrobe space and detest the smell & feel of clutter so to speak. I currently seem to have 10 hand bags, so the madness is under relative control.
#For my London lifestyle, dark, muted colours work best. Black, brown and navy get lots of use. Metallic, gold, silver or pink bags- lovely as they may be – are too high maintenance and don’t suit the daily grind. I bought them for ‘special’ outfits, but realistically I don’t use them enough. A bag needs to be used regularly, to become part of you- so to speak. Otherwise it looks awkward.
# A variety of sizes is good, to cover all eventualities Although I don’t like very large bags, some capacity is essential, but beware of suitcase sized bags. Small cross body bags are also a life saver, for those days when ‘hands free’ is a must
# weight and function used to come after beauty, but not any more. Heavy bags, no matter how beautiful have no place in my wardrobe. Having said that, I walk & cycle everywhere, if your lifestyle includes driving everywhere, it may not matter so much.
# I have shoulder bags, cross body, clutches and hand held. Handheld are my favourite, but they need to be light- very light. Also I don’t like chains, sorry Chanel. I make an exception for you, but chains are not practical in the summer, they leave an imprint in the skin. (ouch) they can also ruin the line of my well tailored jacket. Quelle horreur!
# Vintage is very much an acquired taste – not everyone looks good carrying a 30 year old bag. At the other end of the spectrum, IT bags are like leather pants and can only be carried successfully, by IT girls. They don’t look so hot in the suburbs.
# It’s worth spending lavishly on the grab’n’go bag, rather than on the special occasion mini clutch. In my case, I find the Kelly 32 is very easy for daily life – so a good buy. The Kelly pochette needs more planning, to justify one as essential. If you do buy a clutch, try to buy a simple one that can be used during the day, for quick breakfasts, casual lunches, cinema visits or drinks. If I only used mine for glitzy events it would never see the light of day.
# When reviewing my budget, I realised with horror, how handbag heavy it was. So I spend the last 11 months “upgrading” the wardrobe to be of comparable standard. Perhaps, not every single piece of clothing is ‘Perfect’, but everything is a hell of lot better than it used to be, in terms of good fit, excellent quality and passable ethics.
So – how many handbags have you got in your wardrobe? Come on everyone own up…Spill the beans…
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